Microsoft's standardization move divides experts

by admin November 23, 2005 at 11:28 am

Industry observers have expressed concern about Microsoft’s decision to submit the file formats for its new Office 12 applications to ECMA International, a European standards body.

The software giant said on Monday that the creation of a fully documented standard submission derived from the formats, called Microsoft Office Open XML, is likely to take about a year.

But Gary Barnett, a research director at analyst firm Ovum, said on Tuesday that he doubted that the move would result in the format becoming “truly open.”

“It’s a tactical move by Microsoft to give its proprietary document formats a glimmer of openness,” Barnett said. He added that Microsoft is entitled to describe its file formats as open only if it “gives up control of its formats to a standards body that is accessible.”

If Microsoft maintains control over its XML-based file format, it will be able to arbitrarily change the standard when it wants, enabling it to keep ahead of any competitors that wish to implement the standard, according to Barnett.

Full story: ZDNet